LA Opera's current financial woes drove it to seek an "emergency" $14,000,000 loan from LA County, which the supervisors approved 4 to 1, with only Mike Antonovich, the misinformed, anti-Wagnerite voting against. While the move is being supported in some quarters, others seem to be having a "tsk, tsk" response, questioning the wisdom and timing of LA Opera's Ring cycle, which has been in the works for years. I don't understand the negativity coming from the arts blogging community on this at all. LA Opera has come a very long way in a short amount of time and has eclipsed San Francisco Opera in its sense of adventure and daring, without having the endowment and revenue that comes from San Francisco's much longer history and tradition of being an "opera town."
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, quoted in the L.A. Times, got this exactly right when he said letting LAO go under isn't an option, “For all they have built up... this is almost no price for us to pay. We’ll make money on the interest rate, and we’ll save the opera. I’m not happy that we’re in this situation, but what’s our choice?"
As time goes on and the economy rebounds at some point, LAO will continue to develop its donor base as its prominent presence on the West Coast performing arts scene and as a national house become more widely acknowledged. Freyer's Ring and programming like the Recovered Voices series will continue to attract serious opera enthusiasts from out of town. Their consistently satisfying productions of the standard repertoire will continue to bring new Angelenos to the Dorothy Chandler. With companies closing down all over the place, opera lovers and anyone who appreciates the arts should applaud the LA Supervisors and support a company that is still taking risks.